Sunday, March 05, 2006

Cole to miss remainder of season

And CasonBlog is looking in its toolbox for a replacement.

This is a big loss for the Carolina Hurricanes, as Erik Cole has emerged as a bonafide NHL star this season. Cole's currently 11th in NHL goal scoring with 30 goals in 60 games and was on pace to basically double his career bests.

Every 'Canes game I've seen this year, he's been the most exciting player on the ice.

Cole's injury came as the result of a Brooks Orpik hit from behind and Orpik was tossed from the game. It's quite likely he'll also receive somewhere in the neighbourhood of a five-to-ten game suspension from NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell (whose son, Greg, is playing for the Florida Panthers this season).

Orpik doesn't have much of a history of being suspended, but he does have a reputation as a big, and sometimes cheap, hitter. On the Cole play, Orpik obviously wasn't trying to hurt him, but Cole was definitely vulnerable with the way he curled towards the boards.

Still, Cole's a star on one of the best teams in the league. Orpik's a grunt, playing for the worst team in the league. The league knows there won't be much griping if they throw the book at him — and a lot if they don't.

If this same hit is Markus Naslund on Bryan Muir, there's little chance Campbell is involved.

I'll let you deduce what happens here.

4 Comments:

At 6:50 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

From watching him in college, I'll just go ahead and say that Brooks Orpik is a dirty player. This is, in fact, true of a lot of the products of Boston College. Brian Gionta, for instance, was notorious for cheap little hits with his stick.

 
At 8:52 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger d-lee said...

I've wathced the DVR about 100 times, and every time, I see the same thing. Orpik saw Cole's back square to him, with his head down. He had the time and space to ease up, but didn't. In fact, it looks kind of like he "put a little extra" in the follow-through. A very dirty play that resulted in the loss of one of our best players. Not to mention putting his long-term health in jeopardy.

Sadly, I don't think the league will throw anything resembling "the book" at him. I'm hoping for a substantial suspension, but I think it'll be something like 3-5 games.

 
At 1:41 AM, March 06, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I only saw it once, d-lee, so it's possible you're right. But hockey's a pretty fast-moving game, and things like that do happen.

Hits from behind rarely get substantial suspensions, and five games would be considered a lengthy one based on precedent.

 
At 11:30 AM, March 06, 2006, Blogger CasonBlog said...

Oprik apologists, including Orpik, are saying Cole should know better than to try and turn along the sideboards with his back to the ice. I think if you track a guy from behind all the way to the boards, you would prefer he turns at the last minute so you won't get gigged for a goonish hit from behind. Orpik was willing to hit him in either posture, he made the run on him from behind, so dude needs to watch games from pigeon heaven for the rest of the Pens miserable season.

I wanted to see more physicality from the 'Canes after Malone whacked Cole with a stick chop (accident or not), and even more after the Orpik hit.

 

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